LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Pull! Then shoot. Pull! Then shoot.
For many Manatee County employees looking to help their community, hitting a target was part of the deal. They took to the gun club Saturday for a morning of clay shooting.
"It was interesting," said Karen Windon, deputy county administrator.
She was among the dozens who came to the Ancient Oak Gun Club in Lakewood Ranch for Manatee County Government's first United Way Sporting Clay Shoot.
Being a sharp shooter wasn't a requirement for the event.
"I had a 92 percent rate," Windon said. "I had a ninety-two rate of misses."
Never having fired a shotgun before, Windon still thought it was important to attend in support of the United Way of Manatee County. So her team had matching shirts made and came out to the gun club a couple weeks ago just for a little practice.
"We had a great time, and we are glad it is over," Windon said.
The cause outweighed the fear, though.
"It really is about community, making sure folks are aware of the need in our community, and there is a need," Windon said.
All proceeds from the event went to the United Way, and the event was open to the public. It is one of many very different activities employees of the agency do as a way to give back.
"As an organization, we do know how to have fun," Windon said. "It's our com
munity, we ought to take care of it."
The event was made possible thanks to volunteers at the county and Katie Becker, development director for the United Way of Manatee County.
"We are really happy with the turnout," Becker said. "United Way can't thank Manatee County enough."
Participants hit the course in teams of four.
Mary Pendleton-Brown, fiscal services manager for the county's Community Services Department, was among those who volunteered and spent some time shooting.
"I think for the first time, it turned out pretty well," she said. "We want to make this an annual event."
Renee J. Nordbye, utilities contracts manager, thought the event's unique setting drew out some people.
"Maybe walking is not some gentleman's thing, but to come out here ..." she said. "This is all new for us, but what a fun time.
"The event is more about awareness for people; they got to know what we are doing with the United Way," she said.
In addition to raising money for the United Way, participants were in competition to be the top shooter.
Finishing in first place, shooting 50 out of 50 clay targets, was Robin Uihlein. The prize was a beretta that was donated by The Bullet Hole of Sarasota; however, Uihlein donated it back to be raffled off.
The highest bid went to Chris Bryant, at a price of $600, all to the cause.
Second place was Norman Powe, shooting 49, and third palace was Chance Helm with 48.
Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.